Since the dawn of the agricultural age, if not well before then, man has formed into heirarchical societies.
In a heirarchical society, wealth is distributed in an inverse pyramid. Those few at the top control the greatest proportion of wealth, and use that wealth and power to control those below.
This appears to be an innate condition. No non-heirarchical societies have survived.
It also appears to be innate within mankind to self-associate with those of similar characteristics. This innate grouping allows for group-think, and banding together against those not of the group.
All major religions/philosophies have common beliefs; chief amongst is the altruistic tenant about caring for one’s fellow human, regardless of station, gender, or race. Thus the basic tenants of the major religions run counter to the innate heirarchical-grouping tendencies of mankind.
How, then, is this reconciled? We are seeing things moving to the extremes of divisiveness. Zealots can never be appeased. Give them what they want on gay marriage, abortion, health care, torture, whatever, it will never be enough. There will always be some new afront to their righteousness.
Redistribute wealth? A new hierarchy emerges. The French Revolution was the prime example. While some level of socialism alleviates the suffering of the masses at the expense of the top of the hierarchy, it does not change the innate greediness within mankind.
Christ said, ‘sell all you have, give it to the poor, and follow me.’ Thoreau got more out of life by wanting less. Buddah discovered all unhappiness is born of desire – eliminate desire and you eliminate unhappiness.
The solution, then, lies within the individual. Evolve. Be in the world, but not of the world. Care about your fellow people, but realize that true change in the status of mankind is the change that happens within you – when you step out of living in a hierarchy and live – for your self – and for the ones you love — When “things” (possessions) no longer matter…
In my travels I have learned one truth — the Universe resonates most harmoniously with the feeling of love.